Pruning is essential for maintaining the best health of your trees and shrubs and may be necessary at any stage of a plant’s life!
Pruning benefits trees and shrubs by preserving the correct shape, encouraging new growth, and beautifying landscapes. Pruning is also important because it removes dangerous or annoying branches from the environment and increases the visibility that plant matter may obstruct.
Unfortunately, nature cannot be entirely responsible for your tree’s pruning needs. In fact, the forces of nature prey upon weak limbs and unhealthy structures. Ice, snow, and wind can leave behind unsightly and damaging wounds.
The cuts you create while pruning have to be achieved correctly so as not to harm the tree! You’ll want to make your pruning cuts at the node, or the place where branches meet and connect. You’ll notice that during the spring your tree will bud, and new branches develop until more nodes are formed. The space between nodes is called an internode.
Your pruning cuts should remove only the branch tissue and leave the stem tissue undamaged. Although the branch and stem tissues are attached at the node, they are still separate. When you cut only the branch tissues, the stem tissues of your tree will more likely avoid decay and the wound will seal successfully.
Let’s discuss some common types of pruning:
- Crown thinning removes certain branches in order to increase the amount of light and air entering the crown of the tree. This pruning approach is mainly used on hardwoods.
- Crown raising removes branches at the bottom of the tree crown in order to create space for objects and people.
- Crown reduction, or drop crotch pruning, reduces the size of an enormous tree to fit the appropriate space. This method results in a more natural appearance, reduces stress and lasts longer which makes it a lot more preferred than topping.